It's been five years since George R.R. Martin released his latest book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but he may have finally finished The Winds of Winter. Amazon France has listed the sixth instalment of the ASOIAF series – Game of Thrones to TV-only fans – for release on 9 March, 2017. So what’s going to happen in the new book? Here are the 10 questions we’re most looking forward to getting answers to. Spoilers, obviously, for all the ASOIAF books so far…
1. Is Quentyn Martell still alive?
Unless Quentyn Martell shows up suddenly in Game of Thrones season seven (unlikely, given that all his family is dead) TV viewers might be a bit stumped by this name. There are a few crazy theories about Quentyn Martell, the son of Doran Martell who was sent to Meereen to offer Daenerys his hand in marriage and ended up trying to steal one of her dragons after she left the city on Drogon. The reason that makes this theory really interesting is that the person we see as the dying (and finally dead) Quentyn has been burnt into an almost unrecognisable state by Dany’s dragon Rhaegal – meaning it could conceivably be an imposter. Another reason is that alongside Prince Quentyn in the plan was a man known as the Tattered Prince – both of them were both wearing masks when they entered the dragons’ lair. Many people believe that Quentyn, who has Targaryen blood, managed to tame Dany’s other dragon, Viserion, and rode off on his back, while the dying Tattered Prince was mistaken for him. But it is a pretty convoluted theory.
Quentyn Martell and Viserion by dejan-delic on DeviantArt
2. Will Stannis survive the siege of Winterfell?
In the series, Stannis was killed off in Season 5 by Brienne after losing most of his men to Ramsay Bolton’s forces outside Winterfell. Brienne and Stannis have not met for a long time in the books, and although Brienne is still furious with Stannis at this point for killing her beloved Lord Renly, she is currently with Jaime Lannister in the Riverlands – not anywhere near Winterfell.
Still, he could still be doomed. Stannis is in a perilous state, running low on supplies, sitting out in the cold and he has no tactical advantage should Ramsay Bolton exit Winterfell and come for him. Or has he? When Theon questions his poor defences in a Winds of Winter preview chapter released by GRRM, Stannis indicates that he’s got something up his sleeve: possibly a large nearby lake that his men have been overfishing, making the ice dangerously thin. If Stannis actually prevails in the battle for Winterfell, it would be a hugely different outcome to what happens in the show, but it’d make the rest of the book more interesting.
3. Where is Brienne taking Jaime?
When we left Brienne, she said she was taking her old pal Jaime to save Sansa from the Hound somewhere in the Riverlands – but we know Sansa is in the Vale at the moment, so it’s generally believed that Brienne is lying. Prior to this point, Brienne was tasked by Lady Stoneheart (the resurrected, vengeful Catelyn Stark) with killing Jaime Lannister. Either she’s taking him somewhere secluded to off him, or she’s taking him to Stoneheart for a trial. Or she’s got another plan up her sleeve – but what could it be?
Game of Thrones 3.02 Jaime Lannister & Brienne of Tarth. pic.twitter.com/BLKlxhjyco— Game of Thrones Caps (@GOTscaps) August 24, 2016
4. Will Davos find Rickon?
In the last book, Davos Seaworth the ‘Onion Knight’ went to see Wyman Manderly at White Harbour, in the north east of Westeros, to try and get his allegiance to Stannis. But the Freys were there, so he got arrested and was sent for execution. Then Manderly organised a lookalike criminal to be executed in his place. Then, he said he would give Stannis his support if Davos went to fetch Rickon Stark from the isle of Skagos, which is full of cannibals. We don’t know why Manderly wants Rickon, but given his fate in the show we can only guess it’s not for good reasons – perhaps the execution schtick was simply a feint to gain Davos’ trust. Either way, Davos will be exploring the mysterious island of Skagos soon. Until then, people will keep making concept art like te one below, which suggests Rickon is now a wild Lord of Skagos, who rips Davos in two on his arrival…
Send Me Back To The Wolf's Den by ertacaltinoz on DeviantArt
5. Will Victarion capture a dragon?
In the books, Euron’s brother Victarion – who doesn’t exist in the show – has been sent to Meereen with a horn called Dragonbinder that supposedly has the power to control dragons – but it kills whoever blows it. As the Greyjoy fleet arrives in Meereen in the midst of a massive siege, will he be able to use it to command Rhaegal or Viserion?
6. Will Jon Snow survive his betrayal?
This one’s pretty obvious, really. Resurrecting Jon isn’t the kind of thing the show could do without George R.R. Martin’s permission. But there is the question of how Snow survives. Will Melisandre bring him back to life, or will he rise, Daenerys-style, from a funeral pyre, as many show-watchers were expecting? After all, we now know from the show that he’s almost definitely part-Targaryen.
7. Will Arya return to Westeros?
In a preview chapter of TWOW released by George R.R. Martin, Arya is in an actors’ troupe like the one we see in the show. She’s meant to be following the orders of her new mentor Izembaro, but instead she recognises someone she has an old vendetta against – Raff the Sweetling – and kills him, going against her status as ‘a girl’ or ‘no one’. Does this mean she’ll be leaving the Faceless Men as she did in the show, embracing her old Arya Stark self, and returning to Westeros?
A Girl Does Not Wait by ertacaltinoz on DeviantArt
8. Will Aegon take Storm’s End?
Aegon, aka Young Griff, is supposedly the nephew of Daenerys Targaryen, saved from slaughter at the hands of the Mountain when Varys switched the baby him with a random baby and shipped him over to Essos. He’s recently landed back in Westeros with an army of mercenaries, and in a preview chapter from book six, his Dornish cousin Arianne Martell is on the way to meet him – but what will his next move be? Will he take Storm’s End? And, if Daenerys eventually makes it over the Narrow Sea and back to Westeros, will he give his growing support to her, or will he become her competition for the Iron Throne? And is he even a true Targaryen? Some fans think not…
aegon targaryen (or blackfyre?) - young griff pic.twitter.com/ieHJpS0Hni— emily (@athelstn) June 22, 2016
9. Will Sansa marry Harry the Heir?
Don’t forget Sansa. In the show she had to marry Ramsay, escaped and joined her brother Jon in the north, before making a pact with the slimy Littlefinger and saving the day in the Battle of the Bastards. In the books, she’s still in the Vale with her cousin Robin Arryn, and she’s being set up by Littlefinger not with Ramsay but with Harrold Hardyng, aka Harry The Heir – the man who would succeed to Lord of the Vale should any harm come to young Robyn. Harry is very promiscuous, but Littlefinger has nevertheless arranged for him and Sansa – posing as his daughter Alayne Stone – to be betrothed, with the idea that he’ll reveal her identity and use the Vale’s forces to retake Winterfell for her. But in, yes, another preview chapter from GRRM, Sansa seems to have other plans when she rejects his request for her favour at a tourney. How very Game of Thrones.
10. Will Barristan survive the siege of Meereen?
Alongside Stannis’ siege of Winterfell, the siege of Meereen this is the big opening battle that we’re waiting for. Bit of context: at the moment, Tyrion has just escaped from slavery – it’s the slavers who are besieging the city – and has joined the Second Sons in the midst of a horrible plague of the camps surrounding Meereen. Now the Second Sons say they will join Daenerys (who is absent from the city, having flown off on Drogon) and Barristan is in charge of the city’s defences in her place. In the show, Barristan Selmy doesn’t survive even up until this point, so will he make it any further, or will this battle be his last?
Barristan Selmy— DC Comics (@dccomixx) August 22, 2016
-greatest knight of the seven kingdoms
-just wanted to protect dany
-dan & dave did him dirty pic.twitter.com/EcKeZsh5e3